Sydney’s recent heatwave was the hottest since 1861, maybe demonstrating the effect of the observed 1 – 2 degree rise in temperature since 1970. People headed for the beach, but track work on the Bondi Junction line meant thousands of beachgoers had to queue for buses.
“Bad timing” said one punter.
Last week (just after the Queensland floods and before cyclone Yasi hit) Professor Ross Garnaut released his first supplement to the 2008 report on climate change commissioned by the Australian Government.
Garnaut is the Government’s climate change advisor. In his latest paper he reiterated that there had been a continual increase in extreme weather events globally, and yes, Australia is slowly but surely getting warmer.
This prompted the usual hyperbolic hysteria of the shock jocks of the ‘popular’ press, leading to invective like this by Piers Ackerman in The Daily Telegraph last week:
“The fear-mongering Greens and the carbon tax hopefuls in the ALP have long been spruiking human responsibility for environmental disasters as the driver of their bizarre climate change policies.”
And this gem from Andrew Bolt in the Herald Sun on Saturday:
“… Professor Ross Garnaut (actually an economist) … groaned that ‘a warming climate does lead to intensification of these sorts of extreme climatic events that we’ve seen in Queensland’, and ‘you ain’t seen nothing yet’ … It hadn’t even hit, and already a gibbering horde was shrieking that Cyclone Yasi proved we’d warmed the world. There was Christine Milne, of course, deputy leader of the Greens, the most deceitful party to shame Parliament. How fast she flapped up the microphones to crow: ‘It is a tragedy of climate change.’”
It is difficult to see the rationale behind this reactionary hysteria. Are these people in the pay of Big Coal and Big Oil? Are they acting out of loyalty to the Federal Opposition? Remember, when Tony Abbott seized power from that nice Mr Turnbull in 2009 he said “Climate change is absolute crap!”
Exactly what kind of smoking gun are they waiting for?